The Gas Detection Industry

Gases are necessary for humans to stay alive, remain healthy and for our industries. It is therefore no surprise that the gas sensor industry is diverse. Gas detection is important to the UK, not only because of the manufacturing industry, but also a number of wider societal benefits result from the use of gas sensors:

  • Providing early diagnostics in healthcare,
  • Monitoring complex processes that ensure a sustainable economy,
  • Monitoring and reducing pollutants in the environment,
  • Providing early detection and forensic analysis for safety and security,
  • Reducing pollution by improving efficiency in transport.

The UK gas detection community has a strong heritage and is well served by trade and government sponsored groups, and non-commercial organisations such as GASG.

Globally, the gas sensor market was estimated to be £250M/yr in 2006, and with sensor systems totalling >£1.5B. The principal markets (with 2006 estimates) are:

  • Fire and domestic gas detection: £80M; a mature market, with growth in domestic CO.
  • Automotive (ignoring lambda): £5M; rapid growth in cabin air quality monitoring, with large potential growth in emissions control.
  • Industrial safety: £80M; a mature market with rapid expansion in developing economies.
  • Process control and emissions monitoring: £20M; legislation- and efficiency-driven growth.
  • Breath and drugs: £20M; large potential growth in medical diagnostics, but research is needed.
  • Environmental monitoring: £5M; large potential growth, but technically challenging and legislation is not yet in place.
  • Security and military £30M, with event-driven growth.


J. Hodgkinson, J. Saffell, J. Luff, J. Shaw, J. Ramsden, C. Huggins, R. Bogue and R. Carline, Gas sensors 1. The basic technologies and applications. Nanotechnology Perceptions 5 (2009) 71–82; Gas sensors 2. The markets and challenges. Nanotechnology Perceptions 5 (2009) 83–107; MNT Gas Sensor Roadmap.

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